Uber plans to appeal a landmark court ruling that gave employee status to 4 New Zealand drivers

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“We deserve what other workers in this country get,” said one of the drivers represented in the case.

  • New Zealand’s employment court ruled that four Uber drivers should be treated as employees.
  • The case was jointly taken by two unions and has been hailed as a victory for the union movement.
  • Uber said it was “disappointed” by the ruling and planned to file an appeal. 

Four Uber drivers in New Zealand have won a landmark legal victory after the country’s employment court ruled that they should be treated as employees, not independent contractors. 

The case was jointly taken by FIRST Union and E tū union. The unions did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Reporting on the ruling, which was issued on Tuesday, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) hailed it as a victory for the union movement.

The Guardian reported that in New Zealand, employment status is the key to accessing legal minimum entitlements, including a minimum wage, holiday leave, parental leave, and access to union membership and collective bargaining. 

New Zealand’s employment court does not have the right to make broader rulings of employment status beyond the four drivers directly involved in the case. But, per Scoop Politics, chief judge Christina Inglis wrote in her official ruling that the case “may well have broader impact, particularly where, as here, there is apparent uniformity in the way in which the companies operate, and the framework under which drivers are engaged.”

The decision follows similar judgments in the UK, Italy, and France and relies on similar arguments.

A spokesperson for Uber told Insider: “We are disappointed by the Employment Court’s decision, particularly considering the same Court in 2020 ruled a rideshare driver using the Uber app was not an employee. We are reviewing the decision in detail and will be filing an appeal. We also note this decision applies to four individuals only.”

They added: “Gig workers play an important role in our communities and economy, and Uber is committed to improving standards for all independent workers, across all platforms. Kiwi drivers consistently tell us that the flexibility that comes with driving with Uber is what they value most.”

In a video released by FIRST Union, one of the drivers represented in the case said: “What brought us together is a belief that drivers deserve better pay, higher pay, job security, dignity and respect at work.”

“We deserve what other workers in this country get,” he added. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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